Getting healthy is a goal for many of us, but it is very overwhelming when you first start out. So let’s break it down with these 20 baby steps to healthier living that you can start doing right now! Let’s make it simple, easy, and ready for you to get started today.
Now I know that when it comes to getting healthy you might think that you need to go on the next “best” fad diet out there, but you really don’t. You are more than welcome to try a diet of your choosing, but going straight into any diet is like quitting smoking cold turkey. It’s not going to work for you.
There really isn’t a reason to go on such a restrictive diet when you aren’t changing your way of living or making healthier choices after the diet is over. You will just gain the weight back. So let’s just skip the diets and talk about the real-life changes you can make today to start your baby steps to healthier living.
I am just going to jump straight into it because I know you are tired of people talking too much and just want to get right into it, so let’s go.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I am also not a medical professional or an expert on health. Everything in this post is what I have found have worked for me and others.
Start by parking farther away
One of the easiest swaps you can make is to just park a little farther away from where you would usually park when going basically everywhere. Going to the grocery store, park farther from the door or even on the opposite side of the store than you need to be at.
When you do this you add extra steps to your trip which will help you reach your goal number of steps for each day. And very slightly increase the time you are actually exercising.
It is pretty simple to just park farther away than to park at the door anyway. Mainly because it is usually packed by the door and if you park farther away you have a better chance of not getting your car dinged by someone else’s door.
Stretching is a very good thing to do on a daily basis. It helps prevent damage to your muscles and gets your blood flowing throughout your body. If you want a full detailed list of what stretching can do for you then check out this post right here.
Other than that just know that stretching as much as you might not have liked it before (aka when you were in middle school or high school) it is actually a very good step to help you have a healthier life.
Get more sleep and better sleep
Now I know me talking about getting better sleep seems very cliche or just annoying from everyone saying it, but it is something that is important. When you sleep your body is working hard to recover from the day and it does change how you feel in the mornings.
Getting the right amount of sleep may be slightly harder for those of you who have very busy schedules at odd hours of the day. Just try your best.
There are many ways you can get better sleep, whether that be from sleeping a little bit earlier, not drinking caffeinated drinks before sleeping, being off the phone for a little while before bed, or even having the right mattress for you.
I know for a fact that my sleep changed when I tried our Helix mattress because it was meant for the way I slept (100% a side sleeper) and without any springs. I learned a few years ago that the way you sleep (side, back, or stomach) really changes what type of mattress you need to actually sleep without getting pains and discomfort the next day. So I highly suggest you check them out to see what type of mattress you really should have to give you a better night’s sleep.
Have a time every day where you are away from all electronics
You don’t really realize how dependent you are on technology until you turn everything off. Turn off the TV, walk away from the phone, put down the iPad, and take some time for yourself offline. I even turn off music just because I hear it 24/7 (thanks to having a child and a DJ for a husband) and it really is nice to fully disconnect for a bit.
Now, this may seem like it isn’t a step to healthy living, but it really is because being in front of a screen all of the time leads to many unhealthy habits. And if you can stop these unhealthy habits from happening by just being offline for a bit every day then you don’t have to go down that long path of breaking each habit.
There are many healthy habits you could start by just being offline for a half-hour a day or so. Try doing yoga, read a physical book, eat consciously and not rushed or distracted (which we will get to later), go on a walk, or do something creative. Honestly, anything that you can do offline, without a screen will work and your body will thank you.
Don’t pack the cupboards full of unhealthy snacks
So this next step can be hard, but it is easy as well and that is keeping your cupboards clear of unhealthy foods and snacks. We all have our favorite go-to unhealthy foods, but if you keep them on hand all of the time you will always be eating it.
If you keep junk food stocked in your cupboards then you are bound to snack on them over any healthier snack (especially when you are just starting to eat healthier). But if you stock your cupboards with healthier options and don’t keep junk food on hand then you will start snacking on the healthy foods you have at home.
Same with eating your meals, if you keep the healthier options at home you will start eating these more if you stop stocking up with unhealthy alternatives.
It is a really simple thing, but it can be hard to make the change since you love your favorite treats and it is a change in the way you do your grocery shopping.
Switch from canned veggies to frozen
You are probably thinking right now that I messed up and was supposed to say switch to fresh veggies, but actually, if we want to do baby steps start by going from canned to frozen. Then later you can get fresh. Here’s why.
Canned foods last a lot longer than both frozen and fresh foods and that is because they are filled with preservatives. Now, these preservatives are not good for you and are hindering you from your healthier lifestyle. So by switching from canned to frozen you get rid of many bad things for you that they use to make your veggies last so long.
With frozen veggies, they are blanched freshly and then shipped to stores, which actually preserves their nutrients. The reason you should go with frozen instead of fresh is that when starting a change in your eating you want something, like veggies, to last a bit longer since it may take you longer to eat it. And no one wants to buy fresh produce for it just to spoil before they even get the chance to eat it.
That is why it is best to start with the frozen veggies first and later on you might be ready for fresh produce since you eat them a lot quicker.
Start eating veggies
As guessed from the last baby step, you have to eat your veggies. I know that not everyone loved veggies as a kid and you still might hate them, but give them a second chance. Veggies are good for you and you may find that you like them more now if you cook them a different way or with a new recipe.
I am not saying that you should replace all your carbs with veggies or anything of that sort (please don’t you need your carbs too), but we are talking about baby steps here and that tiny baby step to take is just to start eating veggies. Not replace anything, not go on a “fad” diet, nothing too difficult.
Just add in your veggies here and there. Work your way up and find what veggies you actually like.
Go on a walk
You are supposed to be active for at least 30 minutes a day, but that doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym, lift weights, run on a treadmill, hike up a large mountain, or train for any athletic event.
Your 30 minutes can be spent on going for a walk. It really can be simple. No need to go to extremes or push yourself too hard. Take it slowly and build your way there. Taking a small walk is a very nice way to get yourself moving and at your own pace.
30 minutes of walking (depending on your pace) can be a 1-mile walk to about a 2-mile walk (or more if you are speed walking).
It is simple, easier on the joints, and you can do it on your sidewalk. Find out how far half a mile is from your house, walk there, turn back, and you are done. Or you can just start walking, set a timer for 15 minutes and as soon as the alarm goes off turn right back around. Just remember to take your time and work your way up to bigger things.
Take the stairs
I honestly don’t like this one as much, but a step you can take to healthier living is to take the stairs. Now the reason I don’t like this option is that for some of you, just like me, have bad joints and walking upstairs can make your knees hurt a lot if you are prone to joint pain.
There are ways to reduce the pain you would have in your joints and I have found that collagen supplements will work. You could take collagen in a pill form like these Vegan Collagen Boosters from Obvi or in a protein powder like Orgain’s Collagen Peptides or Obvi’s Super Collagen Protein. It is all about preference on which you would rather have.
Just please take care of your joints if you are prone to joint pain and damage. Starting taking the stairs right away might not be for you, but you can certainly go for something else on the list until you get there. Listen to your body so you don’t push yourself too hard and with too many changes at once.
Replace white with wheat
As a simple step to changing you what you eat start swapping out bad refined carbs, aka white bread, with wheat versions. That means more whole grains, whole wheat, and less heavily processed carbs.
The reason you should start slowly switching away from white bread is that it doesn’t do anything for you. There isn’t much fiber or nutrients in white bread to actually do good for your body. Instead, it actually can turn into fat if you aren’t burning it off right away.
But it is a hard habit to change if you have only eaten white bread your whole life. So start by slowly incorporating it into your meals otherwise you might not stick with it for the long haul.
Stop snacking after dinner
I am sorry to tell you, but you need to stop snacking after dinner. Dinner is supposed to be your last meal of the day and it should be eaten about 3 hours before you sleep. This gives your stomach time to digest the food and prepare to sleep for the night.
But if you keep eating before bed your body doesn’t have time to fully digest what you ate and can turn it into fat to store for a later time. Which I know isn’t something you want when you are just starting to take steps to healthier living.
So plan to have your dinner about 3 hours before bed and don’t snack afterward.
In our fast-paced life, you probably have times where you just scarf down food because you don’t have the time, but this isn’t good at all for your health. Take your time to eat.
Slow down for a bit and actually make your meals take at least 20 minutes to eat. Don’t eat more! Eat the same portion you were going to, but make the bites and chewing last longer. You don’t need to stuff your face. You need to savor it more.
Eating slower makes it easier to not overeat. Your brain works on a delayed reaction when it comes to eating. It won’t know you are full in time to stop you from overeating if you are scarfing down your food in under 5 minutes. It takes time. So give it time and you will thank your body later.
While you are eating slower you should also be eating consciously. This means turning off the TV, putting up your phone, and truly focusing on what you are eating.
When you focus on the flavors and what is going into your body it is easier for your body to register when you are full. You are less likely to overeat since you can feel when you are full a lot quicker.
Plus you actually get to taste how good your food really. Savor the flavors!
Feed yourself like you would want your child to be fed
As a parent, you worry that your kid might not be eating enough to grow, but you think about how to give them a healthy balanced meal. So why don’t you do the same for yourself?
Feed your body the way you would want your child to be fed. If you wouldn’t let your kid snack on Doritos all day and drink energy drinks then why are you?
Ask yourself before you eat or buy foods to stock your kitchen, would I feed this to my child? And if the answer is no then maybe you shouldn’t be eating it.
Cut your portions down
You don’t need to cut everything out of your diet and you are more than welcome to have your favorite treats, but when you do just eat a smaller portion. Let’s face it you are probably eating more than the serving size anyway so try to eat it at the serving size instead.
It is in no way your fault for eating such large portions. In fact, it’s actually fast food America’s fault for the increase in portions. I mean getting a box of 50 chicken nuggets, a 42 oz soft drink, or a 4×4 burger (4 patties, 4 slices of cheese, that can be found on the In-N-Out Burger, not so secret menu) are in no way healthy for you.
Now it might feel weird at first or that you might not be full, but you probably have been overeating too much to know when you are at a comfortable fullness. Just take your time finding that feeling and you will get there with practice.
Ditch the drive-thru and the deliveries
As much as I love In-N-Out Burger I have to tell you that you need to start ditching the drive-thrus and at-home deliveries. Fast-food is not good for you and the sooner you let yourself admit that the easier it will be to avoid it.
This in no way means you can never go back to eat at fast-food places everyone once in a while. Sometimes there isn’t a choice when you are extremely busy or traveling, but when you do choose the healthier options.
But once you work on eating at home for a little while, you will notice you don’t crave fast food nearly as much. The thought of fast food might even make you sick to your stomach at some point. That is just how your body may change once you start eating healthier.
Put down the soda
It is time to cut out soda. It doesn’t have to be for good since that would be horrible, but for the most part you need to get rid of it. Don’t drink it on a daily basis.
Soda doesn’t do anything good for you and instead makes you dehydrated. You aren’t getting any water and then you crave more soda which won’t satisfy your real craving for water. But your body deserves better. You deserve better.
If you have basically been drinking only soda for a very long time then it will be harder for you, but slowly weed it out. Swap out one soda a day at least with a drink that isn’t carbonated. It would be best to switch to plain water, but that won’t happen overnight.
Your tastebuds are so used to the overpowering taste of high fructose corn syrup that water does not satisfy your taste. Go for something like sweet teas or so just to be able to cut out the carbonation. Then head for something like flavored water or with less sugar and finally on to water.
I have found that having a water dispenser at home does make you drink more water without realizing it because it is just so easy to fill your cup over and over again without any extra steps. So once you are ready for water pick up a water dispenser or if your fridge has it built-in then use it often.
It will take time to really adjust to this drastic of a change, but if you start now you are already one step closer to your goal of a healthier life. And one step closer to not being dependent on soda.
Lessen the salt and use other spices
There are many ways to make food taste better without using too much salt or without salt in general. You need to utilize these. Salt makes you more thirsty and dehydrated, but it also increases your water retention.
No one likes gaining weight and if taking out salt can reduce the amount of water weight your body is holding on to you will see more progress in your journey to healthier living. You will be able to physically see more change at first when you start to work out and once you are ready to add a bigger change in the way you eat.
So swap out some of the salt with other spices to gain a new flavor to the foods you are already eating and lessen the amount of water your body wants to hold on to.
Start slow with workouts and add on little at a time
When you are ready to start working out you need to take it slowly. Do the modified versions of exercises that may be too hard for you right now. Later on, you will be able to do the exercises without modifying them, but you can’t give up now.
Take your time with each exercise and do it right instead of doing it fast. A better form will give you more progress than doing more reps wrongly. So start slow and start with a small number of moves/activities in your work out routine.
Later on, once you build the muscle from those exercises you will be able to add on more to your routine. Just don’t go too fast when adding in more otherwise you might give up if you can’t get them all done.
Don’t get overwhelmed
This is the biggest step toward healthier living. You must not get overwhelmed by everything you read and everything out there or you will give up. I truly understand this because I was and still can be overwhelmed by the amount of information out there for people trying to be healthy. And not all of it is helpful.
So do what works for you. Take a baby step to healthier living in your own time. If you want to take this one tiny step at a time, then do it. Maybe you want to change two things, three things, or four things at a time, then do it, but make sure you can handle it. If it is too much for you at once then back off on one of them. You can always come back to it again when you are ready.
And please don’t make unrealistic goals for yourself because you won’t see results overnight and that will be overwhelming. Just stick to your goals and see it through for the long haul.
Thank you for wanting to take steps for a healthier life
As weird as this may feel, I do want to thank you for wanting to take a step towards healthier living. Now it may not be any of these steps that you end up taking, but if these helped you in any way then my goal has been met.
I truly want to help you get healthier because our society really makes that hard for you and me. But since we are the role models for our kids we need to set the best examples we can and be healthy for them, our bodies, and ourselves.
So if this did help you then please let me know in the comments below. I really want to thank you and have a wonderful day!